Varkala : The Serene Beach Town
April 26, 2019
by Varsha Gupta
India is truly a diverse country in terms of its culture, languages, food and even landscapes that you can find around. From chilly snow covered mountain peaks to arid deserts and from rainy waterfalls to sunny beaches, you can find it all.
Varkala is a beautiful beach town in South India located in the state of Kerala, popularly known as God’s own country. It is about 40 kilometres from Thiruvananthapuram, the closest hub. Varkala is a scenic town where you can find lots of activities to keep you busy or you could just laze around and relax. You can have the best of both worlds. Let me take you through my trip.
Must See at Varkala
One of the best views of this town is its cliff. The North Cliff has a path-way with many shops, cafes, restaurants and a delightful view of the beach. There are also many ayurvedic spas and massages that you can find here. The cafes there are to-die-for (You can scroll down to the Food at Varkala section to know more). As you walk further along you come across various shops with clothes, jewellery, dream catchers which make for some great souvenirs. The south side of the cliff, on the other hand, is away from all the hustle and bustle of its counterpart. It is where you can head back to at the end of the day and sit back and relax to the sound of the waves. It is quiet and relaxing and just brings about a sense of calm to your mind. It also has activities of Surfing, if you’re up for it and Yoga, if that doesn’t tell you there’s peace I don’t know what will.
You don’t go to a beach town and not see a beach right? Well, for all you beach lovers, you’re in luck. The entire cliff stretch is adorned with a view of the beach. What’s best is that you will come across multiple stairways leading you directly to these beaches. Now, that’s a stairway to heaven if you ask me. There are more beaches around town, each having their own distinct feature. There’s Kappil beach where you can find waves crashing on one side and a calm lake on the other and Mayannad beach which has rock structures all around. These beaches make for amazing photography spots as well.
Sunsets by the beach are a classic. If you’re at the cliff, you can enjoy this view from a cafe, overlooking the serene sunset while sipping on some chilled gin and tonic and if you’re down by the beach, you can soak it in while the light waves crash at your feet.
Anjengo Fort and Lighthouse
Should you want to experience some town history, be sure to visit the fort. It was one of the earliest British settlements there and was named Anjengo meaning five coconut trees. You can stroll around the property and soak in its history. On the upper level of the fort, you can find some beautiful views of the beach and lighthouse nearby and on the lower level is a pretty little garden allowing for a picture spot. The lighthouse is open to the public as well, and you can enjoy the views of the waters from up there.
Food at Varkala
The cafes at Varkala are to die for. They have some amazing and delicious food and beverages! The north cliff is filled with these cafes. As you enter the north cliff, you find the first of many cafes – the Coffee Temple where you can find amazing wood-fire pizza’s, smoothies and coolers for hot sunny days and the BEST coffee, I for one, am a huge fan of their Iced Americanos. This cafe has a separate Vegan menu as well! A little further ahead is Cafe Del Mar with amazing pancakes. The homemade Tagliatelle pasta at Tratorrias is a must-have as well. You will also find fresh fruit juices and coconut water that is so refreshing in the mid-summer heat. Away from the North Cliff, you must visit the Soul Cafe hosted inside the resort Soul & Surf. It is a picturesque garden cafe with tremendously good food and drinks! They serve this delightful coconut drink that is a must-try and have an amazing view to accompany the meal!
Stay at Varkala
I stayed at a beautiful resort called Cliff Stories. It was a fairly new property with a beautiful, pretty as a picture garden cafe and nice rooms. The stairway from the resort leads to a quiet area of the beach giving it a private beach vibe.
You can easily find resorts to stay at on either side of the cliff at Varkala. Theses promise you a view of the beach and serenity like no place else.
Getting There and Around
Varkala is easily accessible by air or rail. Their railway station is the Varkala Sivagiri Railway Station (VAK) and the nearest airport is Thiruvananthapuram (TRV) from where you can get a cab or take a train to VAK. It is about an hours journey, of which you can make the most of, by taking the beach route and experiencing some gorgeous beaches along the way. If you are a fan of driving, you can even rent a car and enjoy the roads through your own windshield (if you will).
Also, when in Thiruvananthapuram, earlier known as Trivandrum, one must visit the restaurant, Villa Maya. This was made in an old dutch constructed villa and is one of the most amazing restaurants I have visited in my life. They have the best ambience, service and food.
The best way to get around in Varkala is to rent a two-wheeler. They are easily available and quite cheap as well. For directions, I relied on Google Maps, and it got me to and from places I wanted to visit!
The people at Varkala are really helpful and friendly as well.
There’s so much to do here and at the same time, it is a calm, quiet and peaceful location. Varkala indeed offers you the best of the two worlds and is sure to become one of your favourite destinations. It has been one of my best travels for sure.
Have a nice trip!